Reverb Revisitations: Stephen Brackett a.k.a. Brer Rabbit of Flobots is local songwriter of the yearBy Ricardo Baca | January 4th, 2011 | 1 Comment »
“I’m generally a positive person,” says Stephen Brackett, “so if I look back and see a year full of challenges, I also see a year of opportunities and growth. So 2010 was a growth year.”
Better known as Brer Rabbit, one of the MCs that gives local hip-hop outfit Flobots its rhymes, Brackett has made a career on overcoming challenges — and 2010 has been no different. His band released a record earlier this year to lukewarm response — not the ideal follow-up to a platinum-selling single — and was subsequently dropped by its label, Universal Republic.
That said, Brackett also had something of a banner year.
Creatively, the MC/songwriter is thrilled to get back into the studio with his bandmates to create a record that is true to their independent roots. Professionally, he takes great pride that the nonprofit he and his crew founded, Flobots.org, really took off in the last year. And personally, he’s looking forward to a fact-finding trip to the Middle East.
“The greatest triumph of 2010 was that, at the end of the year, (Flobots.org) signed a contract with the Denver Public Schools and their afterschool programs,” he said. “So we’ve been using our Art to Action curriculum to bring artists into the classroom to share their art with the students. . . . And next year, we’ll go from working in two schools to nine.”
It takes talent to sell a million songs, which Flobots did in summer 2009 with the infectious “Handlebars.” But it takes a forward-thinking group to create a nonprofit that feeds off the band’s musical successes and philosophical platforms. Flobots is that band, and it has incorporated many local musicians into its art-in-education fold.
Brackett’s forthcoming trip to Israel, which he’s taking with bandmate Jamie Laurie (a.k.a. Jonny 5, the group’s other MC), is another example of the band’s intense drive for understanding and community involvement. For two weeks in February, they’ll be talking with people on both sides of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
“It’s a trip to see the work that is being done,” he said. “It’s about being able to see those faces and differentiate those forces instead of eating what we’re fed.”